Who am I? A lover of the video game industry. I read about video games more than I play them. The various aspects and mechanics of design are what really intrigue me, and it's always fun to have a healthy debate about them.
I am a Kirby fan. The pudgy pink cream puff has always brought a smile to my face, even when playing one of his bad games. Yet, despite all of the evolution he has experienced, from using items to gaining abilities, ditching animal friends for ability mixing, to dressing up in new hats, one thing has always remained constant: Kirby of the Stars stays 2D.
In one way, this has suited our round pal pretty well. Not every game has survived the transition from 2D to 3D. Poor Sonic still hasn't quite figured it out after a decade or so. Yet at the same time, there is only so much one can do with a 2D plane. After taking down the likes of Kracko, Heavy Lobster, Fangora and the Grand Doomer, it is hard not to ask for more.
Return to Dream Land or More of the Same?
Kirby has always been a very experimental series. Sometimes it can seem as if there are more spin-off titles than main series games. Mass Attack, Canvas Curse, and Epic Yarn are all great games, and Epic Yarn particular is my favorite single-player Wii game. Why, then, hasn't Kirby dabbled in 3D yet? In my entire experience as a Kirby lover, I can only think of two instances of Kirby in 3D- the amazing rail shooter fight with Zero Two in Kirby 64, and of course Kirby's Air Ride, especially when you are running around in City Trial without a vehicle. Both instances have their limitations, with the former putting Kirby on rails and the latter taking away his ability to inhale or do much of anything when not on a vehicle.
A few months ago, there was an Iwata Asks interview for Return to Dream Land. Obviously, part of it was devoted to the development hell it faced back when it was being made for the Game Cube. My heart sunk, though, when I saw this picture:
There it was! There was the 3D Kirby game I've been waiting for! And, in an even greater kick in the pants, it looked almost exactly how I envisioned the game would look. How could this game not have been made? Difficulties with making Kirby work in 3D? Huh? Somehow, I doubt that Kirby would be that hard to translate to 3D.
How would a 3D Kirby game work? Well, think Super Mario 3D Land or either of the Galaxy games basically, just with Kirby and copy abilities instead of Mario and power ups. The levels would be pretty straightforward, but in the spirit of the Kirby games there would be a lot of secrets to find, like in Kirby's Dream Land 3 or the Great Cave Offensive. Combat would likely be a simplified Super Star-esque system. The 3D style would allow for more varied levels and game play styles as well. Since a shmup level is a staple of the series, they could easily look to the success of Kid Icarus Uprising and incorporate rail shooter levels.
Storming the Halberd in a 3D Rail Shooter style level would be amazing.
In terms of the setting, we can look at Kirby 64 and Milky Way Wishes- a return to outer space! But, perhaps we can take it to Super Mario Galaxy proportions? There's a lot of material to work with here.
What system to release it on? Personally, I think the 3DS would be the best fit. 3D Land showed us what the stereoscopic screen could do to enhance the experience of a 3D platformer. Also, the 3DS's power is perfect enough to bring to life the vibrant, colorful visuals that we come to know and love from Kirby. Besides that, Kirby's home has always been the handheld system. His first game was released on the Game Boy, and he proved he still had it in him with his recent DS outings.
I realize this might not be the greatest game in the world. And, to be quite frank, it doesn't need to be. Kirby games are about pure fun and happiness. If this game could take that Kirby essence and thrust it into a 3rd Dimension, I would be in love with that. And maybe, you guys would too.